Women's group to lead measles prevention plan
There are plans to get a women’s group (komiti tumama) in a village to roll out a measles prevention strategy to ensure the virus is not spread further within the community.
Women’s government representative for the Faleula village, Gaga Pulemau, told the Samoa Observer that a programme is being put together to halt the spread of measles and assist families that are already affected and it will be led by the women's group.
She said the village has already got recorded cases of families affected by measles and the patients include infants.
“Well there are some children who are affected by measles and they are very young like 3-4 month old babies who have been affected by the disease,” she said.
Residents in Faleula depend on their family members to keep their homes clean, but Mrs Pulemau said children are getting infected with measles because their homes are not clean.
“The reason why the children are getting infected is that the place where they live in is not clean,” she said.
Families should also ensure that their children do not leave home and are prevented from going to public gatherings, said Mrs Pulemau, while adding that their personal hygiene should become paramount for parents.
“Another thing is that when the parents give their children a bath, they should shower them properly and well, because that can cause them to get sick.”
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been vocal on the need for families to keep their homes clean, according to Mrs Pulemau, which can make a difference between getting or avoiding infection.
An international medical journal in January this year recommended that the Samoa government re-introduce komiti tumama at the community level, if it is to effectively tackle the country’s growing non-communicable disease crisis.
In an article titled “Achieving UHC in Samoa through Revitalizing PHC and Reinvigorating the Role of Village Women Groups”, authors Rasul Baghirov, John Ah-Ching and Caroline Bollars said the role of the komiti tumama is critical in transforming Samoa’s health landscape.